photo by Lili Kibel

Dear President Trump

I was 15 when I first listened to Hamilton and it was a unique experience that I will not forget. I was sitting on my pink rug with my cat sunbathing beside me while my Doris Day record was playing in the background. Encouraged by friends, I felt compelled that day to play the first track of the show. I did and I was hooked. Since then, Hamilton influenced me in the best ways and I made the biggest connections between the show and the world but, more importantly, the show and your views toward immigration policy and race.

I hope that you will take time out of your early morning tweeting and consider the stance this musical has to offer to further educate yourself on immigration and race. Although you tweeted previously that Hamilton was “highly overrated,” please listen to the message that the musical conveys and think about how that can apply to our country. Your immigration policies will affect the future of America immensely and, as a Latina and an American citizen, I want you to succeed in your efforts to “Make America Great Again.”

One of the most famous lines in Hamilton is: “Immigrants. We get the job done.” Mr. Trump, you say that immigrants are stealing jobs away when really they are taking the jobs that no American wants. Who do you think works on the fields picking strawberries day after day? Who do you think cleans your hotels and restaurant day after day to make at least minimum wage? In the mixtape version of Hamilton, one of the verses in “Immigrants we get the Job Done” is:

Ya’ll ain’t been working like I do I’ll outwork you, it hurts you. You claim I’m stealing jobs though Peter piper claimed he picked them he just underpaid Pablo. But there ain’t a paper trail when you living in the shadows.”

What this verse is trying to convey is that Immigrants work hard, if not harder than Americans. Please take into account that Immigrants do not come here to wreak havoc or become a burden. They came for the purpose of starting new and reshaping the American Dream for themselves.

While I do disagree with aspects of your immigration policy, I will agree that there is a problem with illegal immigrants who come into the U.S. with thoughts of drug dealing or gang affiliation in mind. However, it is unfair of you to repeatedly group together the immigrants who are involved in crime and the immigrants who just want to succeed in the United States. Josue who was an immigrant himself came to the US to rebuild his life. He went on to become a successful skater and now he manages a clothing store that helps minorities around the world that are not paid fairly. In his own opinion, he discusses what he thinks about the immigration policies and states, “Well I’m an immigrant. So for me I do see one side of it where he has talked about building a wall and I was thinking ‘that makes no sense’ and I was talking to people from Central America and the way he goes about it [immigration] is very rash and it doesn’t really make sense. Sometimes I feel like it’s a publicity stunt.”

Another aspect to take away from Hamilton is the diversity that made the show so successful. The founding fathers who were originally white were played by blacks, latinos, and other minorities. This not only made the show new, but it created the idea that anyone could be on Broadway and it created more diversity in the theatre industry. You have made many derogatory comments directed towards specifics races such as: [to Muslims] “we need a total shutdown of muslims entering the United States.” and [to Mexicans] “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.’’ This may not be the right way to look at immigrants and especially immigrants who legally entered this country with no harmful intentions. Hamilton displays minorities in its story to show that our country was built on the foundation of immigrants. The diversity in the arts has represented the diversity we have in this country. A colleague and a friend of mine, Vicente Saintignon, a Latino and an activist for the arts, believes, “ Art values every aspect of life, of a person, of emotions, of who you are, and of what you are. I think through that people find a really great place in identity. In terms of race, orientation, and gender they find an outlet that is accepting and promoting out that their ideas, in a way, they feel it validates them in a way, that no other area truly can.”

Instead of providing for immigrants who want to work here and make a difference, you are depriving them of the resources they need. An opinion from Paul A Reyes, of NBC news states, “Meanwhile, consider that 62 percent of the undocumented have lived here for more than a decade, and one-fifth have lived here for more than two decades. Imagine the social and economic disruption if such people were forced back to countries where they no longer belong.” Immigrants have bolstered and sustained our country since the birth of this country and getting rid of them would plummet us into depression. Instead of welcoming immigrants, you have instilled a fear in this country and have made many individual believe immigrants are dangerous animals. This is why Hamilton is an excellent resource. It shows the life of an immigrant named Alexander Hamilton and how he made his mark in US history. An immigrant founded the economic system that has made you so successful and that is something to be in awe at.

So where do we go from here? Think about these immigrants. Their families. Their Intentions. As president you must not only protect the country but you must also provide for the country. Hamilton can teach you that immigrants definitely get the job done. Mr. Trump, please think about the decisions you make towards immigrants. It affects not only the immigrants but the rest of our social system.

Hamilton won 11 Tony awards and has been one of the most reviewed and loved musical in history. Their diversity and fresh ideas is what brought them so much success so why wouldn’t you adopt those same ideals that can bring you success in your administration?

Best of Luck,

Alexandra Ruiz